SAVE YOUR HERITAGE
Over the years numerous ethnic parishes have been closed by the Bishops of the Catholic Church. They cite fiscal problems, lack of vocations, declining census, etc as justifications for their actions. Their reasoning is questionable at the least. However, what their reasoning does show is the existence of major internal problems.
As history has shown, the Church has always exercised control over its people in various ways. A contemporary example can be seen in the Councils of Baltimore. As a direct result of these Councils, the bishop’s received exclusive control of all parish assets. Now, the policy of consolidation has been added to their arsenals. Due to consolidation, an “ethnic cleansing” has been going on within the Church that has resulted in the closing of numerous ethnic parishes.
It appears the bishops have lost touch with the people they are to serve. If the bishops were truly interested in the people, they would be taking a less condescending and patronizing attitude towards them. They would also open a real line of communication. The bishops also need to improve their bedside manner. Their aloofness, callousness and intimidation have resulted in people leaving the flock and priests retiring in frustration. No longer can the bishops expect people to “pray, pay and obey”. Look at the present scandal rocking the Church and the policies that lead to it.
Over the past few years, I’ve begun questioning the bishop’s policies towards ethnic parishes. The following material is a brief, chronological listing of that effort. (See below) The driving force of my writings is a concern that my home parish now faces impending closure. The simplicity of faith which was learned there is the same faith that others have learned in their own ethnic parishes. If it is not nurtured and preserved, it will be lost. Within these heritages lies the strength of the Church. Consolidation will destroy it. Bigger is not better. One is not always an answer. Unfortunately, the bishops fail to see that the people only want the opportunity to nurture and practice their faith in their own heritage and traditions.
It’s hoped that after reading the following material, you will become more aware of an ongoing problem within the Church. Whether or not you agree with the material presented is not the question. What is important is that you become aware and speak out for your heritage. There is a quest by people today to know where they came from. Maintaining and preserving their ethnic-religious heritage is one answer. So, do what you can to save your heritage.
Joseph C. Brozeski, Co-Ordinator-The Polish Heritage Project…August 8, 2002